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Are you thinking of welcoming a new dog into your pack? If so, one of the first decisions to make is whether you’d like to adopt a puppy or an adult.

There really is nothing quite as adorable as a puppy. Cute, cuddly and full of affection, the gaze from a puppy’s big, round eyes can melt any heart. If you adopt a puppy, expect to spend a lot of time with them during their first year of life. You’ll need to care for their every need, teach them how to behave and show them where to spend their time. As they grow up, you’ll help mold their personality and behavior.

An adult dog can be a delight, too. If you adopt an adult dog, you’ll skip the awkward (and sometimes-destructive!) puppy developmental stages, like teething and potty training. Depending on their history and whether they’ve been trained, you may not need to send them to basic obedience class or housetrain them. After they gets used to your family’s new routine, they will simply be ready to be your constant companion.

Choosing between a puppy and adult can be a challenging task for any dog lover. Each has its benefits and drawbacks. Before making a decision, ask yourself these questions:

1. Do you have the time to dedicate to raising and training a puppy?

A puppy requires constant supervision during their first few months of life. You’ll need to take them outside every few hours (at least) to relieve themselves. You’ll need to make sure they’re staying out of trouble. And you’ll need to take them to regular obedience training classes to give them a solid foundation in good behavior. If you work at home or have some flexibility with your schedule, a puppy is for you! If not, consider an adult dog that has been housetrained and is able to mind their manners while you’re away.

2. Is your lifestyle conducive to raising a dog?

Are you a stay-at-home person or a busy out-and-about person? Pet owners who prefer to stay at home rather than go out are a step ahead when it comes to raising a puppy, as toting around a tiny ball of fur isn’t always an easy task – and dogs (even adorable puppies) aren’t welcome everywhere. If you have a busy social schedule that doesn’t allow for puppy raising, consider an adult who is already trained.

3. Is it important that you raise the dog yourself?

When you raise your own puppy, you help to form its personality and behavior. When you adopt an adult dog, their personality is already established and they may have some behavior issues left over from their previous owner. If you want to mold your pup to fit into your family from day one, definitely choose a youngster who you can watch grow up.

4. Do you have children?

If you have a baby or young toddler in your family, you may want to wait a few years before adopting a dog (puppy or adult), as curious kids can accidently harm the dog – and vice versa. Older, responsible children, however, can help with the chores associated with both raising a puppy and caring for an adult (with your supervision, of course). If you choose an adult dog, make sure they have been raised around kids and will be tolerant of playful children.

5. Is cost an issue?

Though both puppies and adults each have costs associated with them, the purchase price of a purebred puppy is often hundreds of dollars more than that of adults or rescues. If price is an issue, consider adopting.

These questions are only a few that you should ask yourself and your family before deciding on an adult or a puppy. Also consider your experience in raising a puppy, the current – and future – makeup of your family, and the activity level of your household. Keep in mind that although puppies are adorable, many adult dogs are looking for homes, too!

How old was your dog when you adopted her? Tell us all about it in the comments

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